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Employment Insurance, September 2023

Released: 2023-11-16

The number of Canadians receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits was little changed in September (-0.9%; -4,000) and stood at 437,000. This followed three consecutive monthly increases ending in July and a slight decline in August. Compared with September 2022, the number of regular EI beneficiaries fell by 10,000 (-2.3%).

According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), the unemployment rate was unchanged in September and stood at 5.5% for the third consecutive month, following an increase of 0.5 percentage points from April to July.

In general, variations in the number of regular EI beneficiaries can reflect changes in the circumstances of different groups, including those becoming beneficiaries, those going back to work, those exhausting their regular benefits, and those no longer receiving benefits for other reasons.

Chart 1  Chart 1: The number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries dips slightly since July 2023
The number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries dips slightly since July 2023

Fewer regular Employment Insurance recipients in New Brunswick and Manitoba, but more in British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador

The number of regular EI beneficiaries fell in New Brunswick (-17.0%; -4,800) and Manitoba (-6.1%; -1,000), while there were increases in British Columbia (+5.3%; +2,500) and Newfoundland and Labrador (+1.9%; +500). There was little change in the other provinces.

In New Brunswick, the number of regular EI recipients decreased (-17.0%; -4,800), following increases in July (+16.4%; +3,900) and August (+3.5%; +1,000). Declines in September were among women and men in all major age groups. In the Moncton census metropolitan area (CMA), the number of regular EI beneficiaries decreased by 21.6% (-600) and in the Saint John CMA, it fell by 11.8% (-300).

Manitoba also posted a decline in the number of beneficiaries (-6.1%; -1,000) in September, with fewer core-aged (aged 25 to 54) men and women as well as fewer young women (aged 15 to 24) receiving regular EI benefits.

British Columbia saw more regular EI recipients (+5.3%; +2,500) in September, up for the fourth consecutive month. According to the LFS, British Columbia's unemployment rate began to trend up in December 2022. It was 5.4% in September 2023, up 1.3 percentage points since December 2022. The increase in regular EI recipients in September 2023 was among men in all major age groups—and in particular, among core-aged men (+11.6%; +2,000). In the CMA of Vancouver, the number of regular EI recipients increased by 10.0% (+2,200).

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of regular EI beneficiaries increased 1.9% (+500) in September, following little change in July and no change in August. Increases in September were mostly among young men (+15.8%; +300) and women aged 55 and older (+3.9%; +200) and were in areas outside the St. John's CMA and outside census agglomerations.

Coinciding with evacuation orders decreed by territorial authorities as a result of wildfires, the number of regular EI recipients in the Northwest Territories in September totalled 700 people, up 33.3% (+200) from August and from September 2022. In the capital city of Yellowknife, the number of regular EI beneficiaries increased by 92.3% (+100) from August to September 2023 and by 66.7% (+100) compared with September 2022.

Fewer young women receive regular Employment Insurance benefits

In September, fewer women received regular EI benefits (-2.6%; -4,400), especially young women aged 15 to 24 (-15.7%; -2,100). Coinciding with the LFS, the unemployment rate of young women (9.6%) in September was lower than the recent highs of 10.5% in June and 10.3% in July. The number of regular EI beneficiaries in September also fell among women aged 55 and older (-2.4%; -1,200) and among core-aged women (-1.1%; -1,200;).

There was little change in the number of regular EI beneficiaries among men in all major age groups in September.

Chart 2  Chart 2: The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits decreases the most among young women in September
The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits decreases the most among young women in September




Sustainable Development Goals

On January 1, 2016, the world officially began implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—the United Nations' transformative plan of action that addresses urgent global challenges over the following 15 years. The plan is based on 17 specific sustainable development goals.

Employment Insurance statistics are an example of how Statistics Canada supports reporting on global sustainable development goals. This release will be used to help measure the following goal:

  Note to readers

Availability of data by occupation

Statistics Canada is currently revising the Employment Insurance Statistics (EIS) data to conform to the 2021 National Occupational Classification (NOC) standard. This will result in EIS occupation categories aligning with the 2021 Census of Population and Labour Force Survey NOC 2021 categories. The release of revised data is planned for later this year. Until then, information on Employment Insurance (EI) beneficiaries by occupation, including tables 14-10-0336-01 and 14-10-0337-01, will not be available.

Concepts and methodology

EI statistics are produced from administrative data sources provided by Service Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada. These statistics may, from time to time, be affected by changes to the Employment Insurance Act or administrative procedures.

EI statistics indicate the number of people who received EI benefits and should not be confused with Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, which provide estimates of the total number of unemployed people. There is always a certain proportion of unemployed people who do not qualify for benefits. Some unemployed people have not contributed to the program because they have not worked in the past 12 months or their employment was not insured. Other unemployed people have contributed to the program, but do not meet the eligibility criteria, such as workers who left their jobs voluntarily or those who did not accumulate enough hours of work to receive benefits.

All data in this release are seasonally adjusted, unless otherwise specified. To model the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, values for all series from March 2020 to November 2021 have been treated with a combination of level shifts and outliers to determine a seasonal pattern for seasonal adjustment. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

The number of regular EI beneficiaries for the current month and the previous month is subject to revision.

The number of beneficiaries is all people who received regular EI benefits from September 10 to 16, 2023. This period coincides with the reference week of the LFS.

A census metropolitan area (CMA) and a census agglomeration (CA) are formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a population centre. A CMA must have a total population of at least 100,000. A CA must have a population of at least 10,000. See Standard Geographical Classification 2016 – Definitions for more information.

Next release

Data on EI for October will be released on December 20.

Products

More information about the concepts and use of Employment Insurance statistics is available in the Guide to Employment Insurance Statistics (Catalogue number73-506-G).

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).

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